Welcome to our first My Green Lab Ambassador Spotlight!
The My Green Lab Ambassador Program was designed for scientists and laboratory professionals who are motivated to encourage their lab to be more sustainable. This free, online learning program provides an introduction to lab sustainability and ideas for how sustainable actions can be implemented. Each month, we’ll be highlighting stellar individuals who have completed our program including our first ambassador spotlight, Dr. Namrata Jain.
Dr. Jain has been sustainability minded from a young age. She grew up in central India where upcycling, minimalism, and hand-me-downs were encouraged and food-waste was frowned-upon. After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, she moved to Canada to pursue her M.Sc. degree as well as her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia.
Through the Ambassador Program, Dr. Jain was able to connect with like-minded individuals who all have a passion for sustainability, and the program even inspired her to share what she learned with her network. “I found the tips about appliance efficiency particularly useful, which inspired me to compose a blog post about personal sustainability strategies and feature it on my blog.”
Learn more about Dr. Jain and her journey with the MGL Ambassador Program below.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and brought up in central India, in a state fondly called 'the heart of Incredible India'. I completed my undergraduate degree from the prestigious engineering college Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G).
Following my graduation, I moved to Canada in 2012 to attend graduate school and finished my M.Sc. degree from Western University in Canada. Thereafter, I relocated to the beautiful Vancouver city to join the Ph.D. program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Here, I felt very fortunate to work in the iconic Michael Smith Laboratories building. My Ph.D. thesis was based on the characterization of catalytic proteins for use in bioethanol production and understanding the mechanisms of carbohydrate digestion by gut bacteria. I finished my doctoral program in 2020.
While living in Vancouver, I was very excited to learn about the City of Vancouver’s urban sustainability initiative, the Greenest City Action Plan. I was also very inspired by the Green Chemistry Initiative of the University of Toronto. I subsequently co-founded and chaired GreenChem UBC, a green chemistry student-group aimed at lowering the environmental impact of chemistry research labs and promoting lab safety, in compliance with the 12 principles of Green Chemistry. I also worked as a sustainability ambassador with the UBC Sustainability Initiative to create projects and events aimed at educating the UBC community about sustainability.
What drives you to be more sustainable in the laboratory?
Being raised in a household where upcycling, minimalism, and hand-me-downs were the norms and food-waste was frowned-upon, I have always been sustainability-minded. Later in life when I became a chemistry researcher, I experienced firsthand the amount of toxic waste generation and solvent consumption in laboratories daily. I believe that there is great potential in reprioritizing resource-use and facilitating research with lower environmental impact. Ever since I first learned about the 12 principles of green chemistry, I have been motivated to integrate them into my work as a researcher.
What is the most interesting thing you learned while becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador?
The My Green Lab Smart Science Training Videos are packed full of information about water conservation, waste management, and green chemistry techniques. I found the tips about appliance efficiency particularly useful, which inspired me to compose a blog post about personal sustainability strategies and feature it on my blog.
How has the My Green Lab Ambassador Program enriched your sustainability journey?
By participating in the My Green Lab Ambassador Program, I was able to connect with a network of like-minded individuals working towards integrating sustainability in their personal and professional lives. The webinars and discussions facilitated by My Green Lab are great resources for future leaders in this field. I am deeply inspired by this community and am looking forward to contributing to this field professionally.
What are your 2021 sustainability goals?
For the upcoming year, I plan to continue my gradual transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. I would also prioritize using ethically-sourced, local products as well as educating myself more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I hope to continue writing about sustainable living and learn from established leaders in this field.
Learn more about Dr. Jain by visiting her blog.
Interested in becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador? Sign up here.
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